New Early Flood Warning System Launched
New International System for Early Flood Warning in Danube River Basin Launched
Vienna, 10 March 2008 - The first international system for forecasting Danube floods and providing an early flood warning was launched today by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission.
The new system will provide the national authorities of countries in the Danube River Basin – the most international river basin in the world -- with up to 10 days to prepare for large floods. Examples of national response measures include opening temporary flood retention areas, building temporary flood protection structures such as sandbag walls, and civil protection measures, such as closing down water supply systems (to avoid contamination) and evacuating community residents.
Following the disastrous 2002 floods in the Danube and Elbe river basins, the ICPDR accepted the JRC’s offer to develop and test a basin-wide flood alert system. `Danube-EFAS´ is now part of the JRC´s European Flood Alert System (EFAS), used by 25 national authorities across Europe and covering over 85 per cent of the continent’s major international river basins.
“Developing and testing of the Danube-EFAS directly supports a key measure of the ICPDR’s Flood Action Programme,” said ICPDR Executive Secretary Philip Weller. “EFAS records will also help the ICPDR to track long-term climatic trends and better prepare for the impact of climate change.”
Memoranda of Understanding for the development of the Danube-EFAS have been signed with, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania. Negotiations are pending with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
“EFAS complements but does not replace existing national flood forecasting systems,” said Dr. Ad de Roo, JRC´s Project Manager for EFAS. “While the Danube-EFAS has already had some testing in the Danube, it will improve through user feedback, so we strongly encourage the new system to be used as much as possible.”
“With basin-wide coverage and extended warning times, we strongly believe its use will help reduce the negative impacts of Danube floods – financial, social and environmental -- in our country,” said Ms. Lucia Ana Varga, Head of the Romanian Delegation to the ICPDR and State Secretary for Environment and Sustainable Development – responsible for flood management in Romania.
Danube-EFAS information is available through a password-protected website, 24 hours a day, through an online service managed by the JRC. The system currently includes 700 rainfall stations in the Danube Basin, with plans for an increase to around 3,000 stations through an ongoing European-funded EU-FLOOD-GIS project carried out by JRC. Information includes rainfall and flood forecasts throughout the river basin, and maps showing rivers potentially reaching critical alert levels for all Danube tributary rivers with upstream areas larger than 4,000 km2.
A training session will be held for users next June in Budapest, Hungary. Danube-EFAS is expected to go into full operation in 2009-2010 following additional use and improvement.
To learn more about EFAS, visit http://efas.jrc.it/
Further informationJasmine Bachmann, ICPDR Secretariat
Mobile: +43 (0) 676 845 200 220, Fax: +43 1 26060 5895
The information contained in the ICPDR website is intended to enhance public access to information about the ICPDR and the Danube River. The information is correct to the best of the knowledge of the ICPDR Secretariat. If errors are brought to our attention we will try to correct them.
The ICPDR, expert group members, nor other parties involved in preparation of information contained on this website cannot, however, be held responsible for the correctness and validity of the data and information provided, nor accept responsibility or liability for damages or losses arising directly or indirectly from the use of the information conveyed therein.
Only those documents clearly marked ICPDR documents reflect the position of the ICPDR.
Any links to other websites are provided for your convenience only. The ICPDR does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy, availability, or appropriateness to the user's purposes, of any information or services on any other website.
When using the information and material provided on this website, credit should be given to the ICPDR.